Christian Messages of Love for Israel
When I was growing up, I knew that there were individuals – and even entire countries – who hated Israel and the Jewish people because of our faith.
I learned about the Holocaust at a young age from my grandfather, a German Holocaust survivor. I remember, as a young child in Chicago, watching the news with my parents and seeing reports of terrorist acts being committed against Israel by her enemies. But I was fortunate that, unlike many Jewish children, I was also taught that we are loved and supported by millions of our Christian brethren. As we celebrate Israel’s Independence Day, it is critical to remember these people who speak loudly and bravely in unity with the Jewish people. Simply put, they are Israel’s greatest ally and friend.
Every day the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (The Fellowship) receives thousands of pieces of mail from Christians around the world with a financial gift to help Jewish people in need. Often there is a note enclosed explaining why they felt moved to give.
They are people like Diane, a young single mother in Oklahoma who gave up buying her beloved Starbucks coffee every morning so she can donate $4 each day to The Fellowship to help the Jewish people. Or Peggy, from California, who wrote to me, “I want you to know I will always help [the Jewish people]. When you visit them, please tell them I love them, and will do everything I can for them. Please tell them to smile, and not to cry, because they will always have a friend in the United States who loves them dearly.”
I’m often deeply moved by these letters. Last week, when I read one from a Fellowship donor named Robert explaining why he is so dedicated to helping Jews in Russia, chills went down my spine.
“I did have a prayer fulfilled on January 4, 2013,” he wrote. “I was given Social Security disability. This came just seven days before I totally ran out of money. I had been out of food and falling behind on bills for several months. During the worst of these times, I had people, Christians included, tell me that I needed to spend my money on myself, instead of helping others, but they were wrong. This is why I give to The Fellowship, because I have had bad times in my life, but the Jews in Russia have had a lifetime of this.”
Robert is not alone. In fact, nearly every letter, e-mail, and phone call from The Fellowship’s 1.2 million Christian donors echoes his sentiments. This amazing generosity and unconditional support have made The Fellowship the largest philanthropic organization in Israel, raising $130 million last year alone to support projects that provide a critical lifeline to the poorest of the poor in Israel and around the world.
In response to the often-asked question, “What do Christians want in return for their sacrificial giving to help Israel and the Jewish people?” I have an easy, honest, and short answer: nothing.
They simply want those of us who are in need to be supported and cared for. So, as the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement gains ground, anti-Israel bias in the media continues, and anti-Semitism around the world grows, the number of Christians standing with Israel is also growing. They are loyal and dedicated friends, and they are raising their voices to help us and to fight for our rights. It is about time we open our ears to hear them.
Yael Eckstein is the senior vice president of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (The Fellowship)